CRO Business Development Team Chemistry Matters


Written by Kieran Canisius

Kieran brings together vendors, investors, growth, clinical and subject matter experts at the forefront of their life science specialties to energetically support clients in overcoming their challenges and find new strategies for success.

June 5, 2019

People buy from people they like. Read it again. People buy more from people they like.


It’s as simple as that. Just think of a time you enjoyed the process of purchasing something from someone or a time you used a service and found the experience great. With that warm feeling in mind, why should it be any different when a pharma or biotech client is considering purchasing your team for their clinical trial project?

The stakes are high for a sponsor when they select a vendor – they need to really feel (not just know) that they have made the right decision. That feeling will come from the people, and that’s why creating a strong team that is likable AND actually like each other, especially at the bid defense is actually a winning strategy.

Likability 101

In our office, when we are selecting our own vendors for various projects, I know we’ve made the right choice when I can say “I feel good about giving my business to them”. Your potential sponsors want the same thing. You can give them what they want by showing them how in tune with each other your team really is, get that team chemistry flowing.

How does a team become likable as a whole? It may seem difficult to quantify, but there’s one thing that always builds trust in a team’s future performance, its simply a visibly cohesive and connectable team.

If a sponsor can see a team that works well together, even enjoys working together, then this is a team that sponsors believe can and will work together to solve problems. Unfortunately, sponsors often don’t get to see and experience the dynamics of the clinical trial team until they begin working together on the clinical trial itself. This, in our experience, is often too late. For now, CROs do have the opportunity to showcase the wonderful working energy of their teams in an unexpected place; the bid defense.

Bid Defense Bootcamp

Many CROs have strong capabilities and multiple service lines to offer. But by the time you get to the bid defense stage, it’s likely that you have what the sponsor needs (or what the sponsor thinks it needs…the subject for another blog!). It’s also likely that other CROs in the bid defense stage also share offerings that would benefit the sponsor. So how you differentiate your CRO and really demonstrate that your team is the one that has the best-functioning relationship and will deliver?

  • Our suggestion: bid-defense bootcamp. CROs often spend a half-day practicing your presentation together and going over who will present what when. This is important, but we urge to take it a step further.
  • Truly evaluate if the Bid Defense team really is acting and behaving cohesively. The sponsor will assume that this will reflect upon how the actual trial team will behave.
  • Ideally, have some members of the trial team present who will be the direct counterparts to the sponsor trial team.
  • Have fun with the practice session. Laugh together. Create a positive atmosphere before walking in the room.
  • Make sure that there is no negative energy during the practice session. If there is, make sure to eliminate it before the actual bid defense. Although it may not seem visible, most will pick up on the negative undercurrent and ‘unexplainably’ choose the other CRO.
  • An objective facilitator could be a useful evaluator and coach to see the team and the approach with a fresh pair of eyes.

Creating ‘likability’ can be honed and enhanced. Capitalize on developing your CRO team dynamic. Giving the sponsor the chance to feel good that they have made the right decision in giving your CRO their business.

Written by Kieran Canisius, Co-Founder of Seuss+. Let’s work together to increase the business development success of your CRO. We offer tailored CRO BD training workshops and solutions. Let our team help your team.

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